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Open Mainframe Project Announces Record Growth with the Launch of Four New Projects, a COBOL Working Group and Micro Focus as a New Member

The Open Mainframe Project (OMP), an open source initiative that enables collaboration across the mainframe community to develop shared tool sets and resources, announced record growth with the launch of four new projects, a COBOL Working Group and welcoming Micro Focus as a new member. CBT Tape, GenevaERS, Software Discovery Tool and Mainframe Open Education have been accepted as new projects, joining existing projects such as Zowe, COBOL Programming Course and Mentorship.

"The Open Mainframe Project is a crucial pillar that intertwines the mainframe industry with the open source community," said John Mertic, Director of Program Management for the Linux Foundation. "We depend on our members to suggest new projects while we ensure a vendor neutral governance that helps breathe new life into traditional technologies like COBOL and CBT Tape. We look forward to continued growth in both the development and use of these technologies."

Opening Doors for Trusted Technologies

CBT Tape

The roots of the open source movement trace back to SHARE but much of that initial collaboration came together with CBT (Connecticut Bank and Trust) Tape in 1975.  CBT Tape is an open library of free software distribution for the IBM mainframe Multiple Virtual Storage (MVS) and OS/390 operating system environment that continues to grow and get updated. With each iteration of these tapes, new and ingenious tools and examples became available.

"We were open before open source was a thing," said Sam Golob, current editor of CBT Tape. "We persevered to showcase our ambitious concept and extensive library. We are excited to learn more from the Open Mainframe Community and continue to be available for the next generation of mainframers."

COBOL Working Group

It is estimated that there are more than 200 billion lines of COBOL code in production and it has been a hot topic in recent months as there is a demand for program developers. In April, Open Mainframe Project launched a COBOL volunteer resource, Q&A forum and a Training Course, which offers introductory-level materials with Microsoft's Visual Studio Code editor (VS Code) and hands-on labs. Today, Open Mainframe Project announces the launch of a COBOL Working Group that aims to address misunderstanding about the technology and promote its continued usage, learning and discourse.

"If COBOL code stopped working, so would the global economy," said Cameron Seay, Chair of the COBOL Working Group and an Adjunct Professor at East Carolina University. "Most people don't realize that COBOL plays an important role in our digital future. We can build upon the success of the past and its vitality in the present. This group will help raise awareness of this in not only the mainframe world but everywhere."

Momentum continues with other new projects

At launch in 2015, Open Mainframe Project had one open source project under its wing. Today, CBT Tape, Education, GenevaERS and Software Discovery Tool join ADE, Ambitus, ATOM, COBOL Training Program, Feilong, Mentorship, Polycephaly, TerseDecompress, Zowe and Zorow. Learn more about the new projects:

Software Discovery Tool

There are so many different open source software programs available on Linux for the mainframe that it is often overwhelming for developers. For those who don't know where to begin, Open Mainframe Project's Software Discovery Tool will help match developers with the best open source software that meets their needs. Developers can search through open source software for zArchitecture/s390x for any Z operating system from any source, any repo, anywhere, in one place.

Mainframe Open Education

For decades, a key priority for the technology industry has been the need to replenish an aging workforce with talented, skilled professionals. The Open Mainframe Project has helped fill the skills gap with its Mentorship project and will now go even further with the new Mainframe Open Education project. Spearheaded by Broadcom and IBM, it offers a simple platform through which experts share up-to-date materials and foster collaboration with the broader community. The result is a clear learning path that rejuvenates the workforce and drives access to business-critical systems.

"Today's mainframe talent is getting close to retiring, and the universities, with a few exceptions, have not traditionally taught mainframe technologies," said Robert Dahlberg, Open Mainframe Project Mentorship Coordinator and Assistant Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University, College of Engineering.  "The Mainframe Open Education Project will address this challenge by providing easy access to curriculum and learning roadmaps to help train new talent for mainframe jobs. New innovations in software have forced a resurgence of the mainframe, which is silently running critical infrastructure and, because of its efficiency, taking over the running of our hybrid clouds and server farms."


GenevaERS is the single pass optimization engine for extraction and reporting on z/OS. Originally developed by PricewaterhouseCoopers and acquired by IBM, GenevaERS offers businesses a high-level reporting solution uniquely tuned for big data scanning and improved financial transparency for better decision-making. This project assists in the full analytical data supply chain, from efficiently transforming data to updating reporting repositories to creating multiple analytical outputs in a single pass for enhanced high-level, scaled and integrated reporting. It can be an application development platform for high-volume ledger systems for some of the largest businesses in the world.

"The collaborative services approach to solving significant customer problems has always had a community aspect to it," said Kip Twitchell, GenevaERS Technical Steering Committee Chair and IBM Financial System Global Subject Matter Expert. "Open Source and the Open Mainframe Project is the natural next step in its development, renewing the power of the mainframe and transforming the world's significant business systems at the same time."

Open Mainframe welcomes Micro Focus into the ecosystem

Hosted by The Linux Foundation, the Open Mainframe Project is comprised of business and academic leaders within the mainframe community that collaborate to develop shared tool sets and resources. Today, the project welcomes Micro Focus, an information technology company that delivers enterprise application software globally, to its ecosystem.

"As long-standing vendors of robust mainframe technology, Micro Focus understands the mainframe world very well," Neil Fowler, General Manager, Application Modernization and Connectivity Product Group at Micro Focus. "We're delighted to join the growing community of practitioners at Open Mainframe Project who are looking at open source collaboration as a means to maximizing the value from their mainframe environment."

One of Micro Focus's first priorities will be to continue to drive the effort of the COBOL Working Group.

"COBOL's success over six decades is legendary, and its usage remains significant across thousands of organizations, "said Derek Britton, Application Modernization Group, Micro Focus. "That value is not always fully understood. The new Open Mainframe Project COBOL Working Group aims to clarify and encourage the continued use of COBOL applications on the mainframe and beyond by providing insight, resources and information to help IT decision makers build their application, technology and training plans based on practical, factual input. COBOL's open and adaptable design makes the OMP working group a perfect platform to lead this discussion and Micro Focus are delighted to be able to lend our support to the group."

Open Mainframe Project celebrates its 5 year anniversary at the inaugural Open Mainframe Summit virtual conference on September 16-17. The event is made possible thanks to Platinum Sponsors Broadcom, IBM and Rocket Software; Gold Sponsors SUSE and Vicom Infinity and Silver Sponsor Micro Focus.

Published Monday, September 21, 2020 7:22 AM by David Marshall
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